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Making Helmets Cool

Encourage helmet use before "being cool" matters.
Put helmets on children when they begin riding tricycles. If children get in the habit of wearing a helmet before the age of seven, they may find it more acceptable to wear one later on.

Be a role model.
Younger children are strongly influenced by the example of their parents and older siblings. Establish a household rule that applies to everyone: if you ride a bicycle, wear a helmet.

Help organize a one-time helmet purchase at your child's school.
The excitement of every child getting a helmet makes it "uncool" not to wear one. In addition, parent groups can negotiate for a discount rate from a helmet manufacturer, making certain no child is denied protection because of cost.

Arrange a special presentation by a crash survivor.
A first-person account can be a powerful teaching tool. A person whose injuries were minimal because of wearing a helmet can motivate others to wear helmets.

Take your children and several friends to pick out helmets together.
Allowing a child to choose his or her own "style" will help ensure the helmet is worn. Also, by having your child select a helmet with friends, your child will be more inclined to use it and to feel part of a "cool" group. Only buy helmets that meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard.

Promote bicycle helmet use among other parents and caregivers.
Many adults do not realize the risk of serious head injury from a collision, nor the effectiveness of helmets in reducing that risk. By educating one another, parents ensure that rules are consistent from household to household, helping to relieve peer pressure.

Be prepared to take a stand when peer pressure is working against helmet use.
Be firm with your children. Do not back down or change your mind about helmets. Make it clear that if they do not wear helmets, they cannot ride bicycles.

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Contact the Minnesota Safety Council at msc@minnesotasafetycouncil.org, or 651-291-9150/1-800-444-9150.
474 Concordia Avenue St. Paul Minnesota 55103 USA